SCI has developed an activity area plan for successfully restarting operations and welcoming students, faculty, and staff back to campus during the fall 2020 semester. The careful planning effort addresses public health concerns and different University operational postures for the term.
To stay up-to-date with the University of Pittsburgh's response to the COVID-19 pandemic, visit coronavirus.pitt.edu.
Frequently Asked Questions
The FAQ below covers a variety of topics relevant to SCI students. Please review the material and direct any questions unanswered to the appropriate contact found below.
Where should I go for general health updates and ongoing University alerts?
Please access Pitt’s Coronavirus Site. At this site you will find guidance on all aspects of mitigating and responding to Coronavirus risks – from defining Flex @ Pitt and the University’s posture to returning to campus and buildings and spaces on campus.
I am an undergrad with questions related to dorm life on campus. Who should I talk to for answers?
You should review this housing FAQ from Panther Central and any unanswered questions can be directed to them at email@example.com.
I am a new SCI international graduate student. When can I do my official document verification?
You will be able to schedule an individual meeting to do this with a member of the SCI Academic Records Team, but these meetings will be postponed until we are able to fully return to campus. Until then, this will remain “unchecked” on your to do lists in PeopleSoft. However, do not worry, as this is not a problem under the circumstances! We will notify you of the process for scheduling a document verification appointment when we are able to in the future.
Volunteering and Work
As a student, are hourly (“wage payroll”) positions available?
Yes. However, individual hourly work positions may be impacted differently, with some now fully remote, others remote or on-campus depending on the University posture and building access. You can view and apply for student hourly pay jobs at Pitt here: https://www.join.pitt.edu/find-positions.
Can I participate in a for-credit work experience during the pandemic (internship, practicum, field experience)?
If the academic policies of your program and your work authorization status allows it, then yes. However, individual internships may be impacted differently. Please: a) consult your internship course instructor to verify any delivery/participation updates, and b) consult your site supervisor to confirm any updates to their work policies (which may be independent of the University). If problems arise, please contact the SCI Director of Experiential Learning, Alka Singh.
I am an undergraduate on a Co-op rotation (or with one coming up in the next semester or two). Can I still complete it?
University-wide policies have not indicated that these are canceled or changed. However, individual co-op rotations may be impacted differently. Please: a) consult the Co-op Office to verify any delivery/participation updates, and b) consult your site supervisor to confirm any updates to their work policies (which may be independent of the University). If problems arise, please contact the Co-op Office.
I am a graduate student on a Co-op rotation (or with one coming up in the next semester or two). Can I still complete it?
University-wide policies have not indicated that these are canceled or changed. However, individual co-op rotations may be impacted differently. Please consult your site supervisor to confirm any updates to their work policies (which may be independent of the University). If problems or questions arise, please contact the SCI Director of Experiential Learning, Alka Singh.
I am an MLIS student who was placed in the Pitt Partners Placement. Can I still complete it if we are in remote status?
University-wide policies have not indicated that these placement need to be canceled or changed. However, individual placements may be impacted differently. Please consult your site supervisor to confirm any updates to their work policies (which may be independent of the University). If problems arise, please contact Elizabeth Mahoney, Associate Chair of the Information, Culture, and Data Stewardship Department.
I am a graduate student with an assistantship (Teaching Assistantship, Research Assistantship, Fellowship, etc.). Can I still complete it?
University-wide policies have not indicated that these are canceled or changed. However, individual assistantships may be impacted differently. Please consult with your course instructors (if a teaching assistant) and/or your research project PIs (if a research assistantship or fellowship) to obtain instructions on how to continue to perform your teaching and/or research duties. Should any additional problems arise, please contact your academic advisor, PhD program chair, or department/program chair as needed. The faculty directory provides contact information for all SCI and SCI-affiliated faculty.
Will I be able to volunteer through Pitt in this and upcoming terms (with a nonprofit, in the community, etc.)?
If this is through Pitt and our School, most likely your activity will either be a PittServes placement or a community engagement commitment in the Hill District or Homewood. SCI will continue to host these experiences, but they will most likely continue to be remote projects through the duration of the pandemic. A member of SCI’s Experiential Learning team will share updates with all SCI students on these opportunities as they become available. Please feel free to contact Alka Singh, the Director of Experiential Learning in SCI, with any questions or concerns.
Will I still be able to get assistance from the University's Career Services?
Pitt's Career Center will continue to provide uninterrupted, virtual service. Staff will continue to be available via email, phone and Skype appointments. Staff are working remotely during normal business hours of 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Please visit the Career Services site for details.
How do I elect a late withdrawal for the Fall 2020 term?
The Office of the Provost has announced that in situations where students experienced severe performance disruptions this semester, they may petition their Dean's Office to withdraw from individual courses affected by the disruption and obtain a W grade in those cases. This is a one-time modification to the University's withdrawal policy.
If you are satisfied with a grade earned in a Fall 2020 course, no action is required.
If you earned a grade of B- or below, No Credit (NC), or Unsatisfactory (U), and you believe your performance was severely impacted by the pandemic, you may petition to request a late withdrawal (W) from the affected course(s) after grades are posted.
To initiate a petition, SCI students must discuss their options with the appropriate SCI academic advising representative. Please reach out in a timely fashion (before the start of spring term classes), so you have sufficient time to fully review and understand your options.
Students may then submit the Fall 2020 SCI monitored withdrawal form.
Please note these important considerations:
- Withdrawing from a course is permanent and irreversible. There will be no tuition adjustment or refund after withdrawing from a course.
After withdrawing from a course, you will not earn any credit for the course, and the W will not be included in the calculation of your GPA.
If you receive financial aid, it is your responsibility to check with the Office of Financial Aid to ensure this action will not affect your Satisfactory Academic Progress and eligibility for financial aid.
If you are an international student, it is your responsibility to check with the Office of International Services (OIS) to ensure your visa will not be affected.
If you are a student-athlete, it is your responsibility to check with your ASSSA academic counselor to ensure your NCAA eligibility will not be affected.
Students may not withdraw from a course in which they have committed an academic integrity violation.
All Late Withdrawal requests for the Fall 2020 term must be submitted by Wednesday, February 3, 2021 at 5 p.m. Eastern Time (U.S.), except for students graduating in December.
IMPORTANT NOTE FOR STUDENTS GRADUATING IN DECEMBER: You must submit any Late Withdrawal requests no later than December 17, 2020. Please note that withdrawing from a course may impact your ability to graduate.
How do I elect into the S/NC grading basis for a course this term?
The special process to retroactively apply S/NC grades that was in place for the Spring 2020 is not continuing beyond that term. Students are now following established S/NC policies that apply to undergraduate students and graduate students – this includes a limited deadline for updating a course to S/NC as well as standard rules on if an how an S/NC course can be counted towards the fulfillment of requirements.
What is Zoom bombing and how can I avoid it?
This occurs when someone “crashes” your Zoom meeting, shares their screen, and presents inappropriate/offensive materials. This has the potential to disrupt any meetings you have, including those that are part of your studies. Zoom has put together some guidelines to help prevent this from happening.
What is Flex @ Pitt?
Flex@Pitt is an instructional model being used throughout Pitt to ensure that the classes offered during the COVID-19 pandemic are responsive to the needs of individual students and instructors, and can adapt to changes in the University’s operational posture. In broad strokes, the operational posture dictates when it is possible to hold in-person classes. The Flex @ Pitt model complements this by ensuring that even when in-person classes are possible, all classes provide engaging remote options for participation to accommodate individuals whose personal situations prevent them from being in the classroom.
In other words, Flex @ Pitt maximizes the in-person educational experience whenever it is safe to do so, while still allowing students and faculty to engage in whatever manner they deem comfortable. Classes will be taught in a manner that provides an excellent educational experience regardless of whether the student attends in person, remotely, synchronously or asynchronously.
What do I need to do to opt into Flex @ Pitt?
Nothing! All classes being offered with an in-person component will operate under the Flex @ Pitt model for the duration of the pandemic to provide you with the greatest flexibility in how you participate.
You can simply choose when and if you take advantage of in-person classroom experiences based upon the campus’s operational posture and your personal circumstances (this applies to students, TAs, UTAs, and instructors).
Will all classes offer an in-person option?
The vast majority of our classes will have in-person opportunities when possible. However, some recitations and large enrollment classes are fully remote.
Do I need to be on-campus to take classes this spring?
Flex @ Pitt will remain in place for the duration of the pandemic, so all courses will be possible to participate in via remote engagement, and do not require physical presence on campus.
I am a TA or UTA. Do I need to come to class in person?
TAs and UTAs have the ability to participate in their classes remotely or, when the campus posture allows it, in person.
Where can I learn more about Flex @ Pitt?
Please access the University’s Flex @ Pitt page.
How will tests will be delivered? Will taking the course synchronously or asynchronously impact this?
How the tests will be delivered and what portions of the course are synchronous or asynchronous is up to the individual instructor, but please know that whatever venues the instructor chooses for tests and class time, they are obligated to ensure that students taking the class on campus, students taking the class remotely, and students mixing the two modes are all fully accommodated.
Are there any space/rooms available for students to study or for group discussion in SCI buildings or more generally on campus? Will Pitt Print stations open?
Available study spaces are indexed on the student living-learning page. Student computing lab options are listed on Pitt’s computing lab page, and print stations are listed on Pitt’s print stations page. Please be advised that there may be modifications and restrictions on movement and capacity that change over time throughout the course of the pandemic.
Health and Wellness
Will offices on campus that can help me with my health remain open?
University Offices related to health and wellness are open. Please access the sites for these offices themselves for detailed information: Student Health Service, Disability Resources and Services and the Counseling Center.
I am a student who is also a parent. Has Pitt provided any resources for me to connect with other parents in similar situations?
The University has put together an online group for Pitt faculty, staff and students who are parents. For more information on how Pitt is supporting these parents, please visit Pitt’s Child Development Center page.
I am a new SCI student. How do I get my Pitt Photo ID?
You are able to upload a photo and the ID will be mailed to you. Here are details on this process: https://www.pc.pitt.edu/panther-card/photo-id
Where can I go to learn more about any financial aid or scholarships awarded to me and if and how these may change if my enrollment status changes due to COVID?
Any questions regarding federal, state or University-level aid or loans should be directed to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.
If an urgent need for limited emergency funding has arisen from these circumstances, please contact the SCI External Relations Team.
Prospective Students and Applicants
I am a prospective student. Can I still visit campus this semester? What about in the upcoming spring?
On-campus interview/campus/recruiting visits will be determined by the University’s posture, the class schedule and building access. We will continue to have real-time remote sessions but will add on-campus sessions as circumstances allow. For an up-to-date listing of any information sessions we offer (whether remote or on-campus), please visit this site. If you have any initial immediate questions, please email us at SCIadmit@pitt.edu. Thank you!
Is there specific guidance/information for prospective students and applicants?
Undergraduate applicants and prospective students should access this page for contact and virtual tour information.
Graduate applicants and prospective students should access this page for contact and virtual tour information.